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Filipino community radio stations struggle to survive amid attacks and difficulties

By Mong Palatino

A book published in 2018 documented the challenges faced by community radio networks in the Philippines. This author interviewed one of the groups behind the book project about the significance of community radio in a country where most of the murdered journalists are broadcasters from the rural provinces.

Titled ‘Amplifying the People’s Voices: The Philippine Community Radio Experience and Challenges’, the book was published by the International Association of Women in Radio and Television and Kodao Productions. [Note: Kodao is a content partner of Global Voices.]

Jola Diones-Mamangun, executive director of Kodao, shared via email some of the highlights of the book and the current challenges of community radio broadcasting under the government of President Rodrigo Duterte. First, she explained what community radio means:

Community radio is broadcasting or ‘narrowcasting’ by a community on a topic that is of importance to them through a (usually) low-power radio transmitter (broadcasting) or a public-address system (narrowcasting). It is a form of a town-hall meeting that uses the radio program format. Both the broadcaster/s and the interviewee/s are usually members of the community themselves. If the community succeeds in putting a community radio station, they broadcast a series of programs that is similar to how other radio stations operate (eg, Radyo Sagada). If not, they can set up a public address system and place speakers around the community and the program/s usually last for just hours (eg. Radyo San Roque).

Sagada is part of the Cordillera Region, the home of the Igorot indigenous peoples, in the northern part of the Philippines. San Roque is an urban poor community in Metro Manila, the country’s capital region.

She mentioned how community radio stations formed a network in the early 1990s

There have been earlier stand-alone community radio stations in the Philippines but it was only in the early 1990s that the late Louie Tabing started the Tambuli network of community radio stations. He is acknowledged in the global community radio broadcasting movement as an Asian pioneer.

‘Amplifying the People’s Voices: The Philippine Community Radio Experience and Challenges’. (Published by IAWRT)

She said Kodao’s work was inspired by the legacy of the Tambuli Network. Tambuli spearheaded the establishment of more than 20 community radio stations in remote villages across the Philippines, with assistance from various sectors such as the academe, church, international NGOs, and the communities themselves.

She then summarized the main challenges faced by community radio in the past two decades:

Sustainability is the main challenge. When funding for Tambuli dried up, most of the stations became moribund, shriveling the network and stopping the project on its tracks.

Second problem are the laws that appear to discourage the establishment of independent community radio stations. For example, while there are more than a hundred Radyo Natin stations all over the archipelago—low-power Manila Broadcasting Company (MBC)-owned stations—there are very few genuine community radio stations such as Radyo Sagada. It is unjust that large networks such as MBC are given hundreds of frequencies on both AM and FM bands that it is no longer possible, for example to put a radio station in the Metro Manila area, or Cebu, Iloilo, Davao and others. What if the Dumagats of Antipolo want to have a radio station of their own? [Dumagats are indigenous peoples from Rizal province. Antipolo is part of Rizal, located east of Metro Manila].

Third, because they are non-profit, community-owned and operated, and assisted by non-government organizations, genuine community radio stations are often victims of attacks and harassments, leading to their closure or abortion of their establishment. Radyo Cagayano was burned down and its staff attacked in Baggao, Cagayan in 2006; Radyo Sugbuanon’s full operation was aborted because of threats by the police and politicians; Radyo Lumad was closed last January 2019 because of threats and harassments. NGOs that help put them up are red-tagged and some have even been killed or imprisoned.

Radyo Cagayano, Radyo Lumad, and Radyo Sugbuanon are located in communities where the residents have been either resisting the entry and expansion of mining interests or opposing the approval of large-scale projects that could destroy their homes and livelihoods. These radio stations have consistently worked with communities threatened with displacement by broadcasting the issue and providing a platform for local residents to articulate their demands. It is this mission of ‘amplifying the people’s voices’ that led to vicious attacks targeting those who are speaking truth to power.

She emphasized that the ‘people’s right to communication’ should be part of the broader struggle for real development and inclusive democracy in the Philippines:

These are no small challenges that could be addressed by simple problem-solving. There must a systemic social change if community radio is to finally succeed in the Philippines. It must be pursued as part of the people’s right to communication. If the marginalized are underserved by the mass media establishment, they must be allowed to be their own voice (as opposed to claims that they are voiceless and that the networkers are giving them one.

She accused the Duterte government, which came to power in 2016, of enabling more attacks against the independent press including community radio:

It is under the Duterte regime that Radyo Sugbuanon and Radyo Lumad have been threatened, leading to the abortion of the former’s full establishment and the closure of the latter.

She said Kodao plans to give copies of the book to mass communication schools throughout the country to serve as a resource. She added that the book can be part of a campaign to push for an enabling law promoting community radio broadcasting in the Philippines.

(This article was first published by Global Voices, an international and multilingual community of bloggers, journalists, translators, academics, and human rights activists. It is republished by Kodao as part of a content sharing agreement.)

Nakakahawa, nakakamangha

Ni Carlos Marquez

KUNG ikaw ay magsasaka ng palay na taga-Nueva Ecija at inis-na-inis ka sa Kongreso sa pagsasabatas ng taripa sa bigas; kung sumasagad na sa rurok ang kinikimkim mong galit sa mga nakakahiyang kamangmangan na ipinapakita sa mga desisyon at deklarasyon ng maraming opisyal ng gobyerno; kung hindi mo na talaga mapagkasya sa sikmura ang mga ipinalulunok sa iyong galung-galong dugo ng mga pinapatay sa tinatawag na gyera sa droga; kung nagpupuyos ka na sa himutok at galit sa pilit na panghihimasok ng mga militar sa mga paaralan at kanayunan; kung sa tingin mo’y nawawala na ang katinuan…tumula ka.

Ganito ang nasumpungang paraan ni Raymund B. Villanueva, isang aktibistang mamamahayag at makata, upang ibuhos ang naimbak na galit. Isinatinta niya ang mga galit na iyon at inilatag sa papel. Ang resulta: “Persolitika”.

LUNAS ang pagtula, o pagsulat nito – alternatibong lunas pero hindi panandalian ang bisa (palliative). Pangmatagalan. Upang guminhawa ang pakiramdam, ibinuhos ni Raymund ang marahil ay malaking bahagdan ng mga naipong likido sa katawan sa 100-pahina ng mga tula at litrato tungkol sa personal at pampolitikang kaisipan sa “Persolitika: Mga tula at larawan”. Ang mga sakit ng lipunan na nagmistula nang epidemya pagkaraan ng maraming panahon ay sinisikap lunasan ng mga manunulat – mamamahayag man o makata. Subalit habang patuloy ang matahimik na pagsigaw sa ibabaw ng papel, parang mas lalo pang dumarami ang problema. Parang mga gremlin na habang nababasa ay lalong dumarami. (Parang tagyawat ni Yolly Samson: “Sa kakaisip sa ‘yo tagyawat dumadami…”). Kaya nga, tumula nang tumula si Villanueva at may lunas na dala ang mga tula niya.

Katulad ng epidemya ang mga tula sa “Persolitika” – nakakahawa. At nakakamangha. Pati na ang mga dakilang haligi ng panulatang Filipino ay napatayo, napatigalgal, at sumaludo sa 23 tulang personal, 40 tulang politikal, at 32 larawan na may indayog din at sining. Dalawa sa mga nagpugay sa mga tula sa “Persolitika” ni Villanueva ay sina NVM Gonzales at Jose Ma. Sison. Sutsot lamang ng mga nota ng pangalan ng dalawang ito ay dumagundong na kampana na pumupukaw sa isang maingay na metropolis.

Si NVM Gonzales o Néstor Vicente Madali González ay isang higanteng nobelista, manunulat ng maiikling kuwento, at makata, na may gawad na Pambansang Alagad ng Sining Para sa Panitikang Pilipino nuong 1997. (Binigyan ni NVM ng pagkilala kung anong uring manunulat si Villanueva nuong 1995, apat na taon bago siya pumanaw). May gawad din siya ng pinakamimithi ng mga manunulat sa panitikan na Carlos Palanca.

Samantala, kilala ng marami si Jose Maria Sison bilang isang manunulat na aktibista na siyang nagtatag ng Communist Party of the Philippines.

Bakit ganoon na lamang ang pagpupugay ng mga bathala ng panitikang Filipino kay Raymund B. Villanueva?

Dumampot tayo ng ilan sa mga tula sa “Persolitika” upang malaman.

Sa tula, halimbawa, na “Sa Gabi ng Pangungulila” ay nakipagkumperensya si Villanueva sa mga salik ng gabi – buwan, kuliglig, batis, at hangin – upang punan ang nabuong gawak ng kalungkutan sa pagkakalayo sa kanyang minamahal. Romantiko si Villanueva. “Maglakbay tayo, giliw/At idampi bilang halik ang luhang naging hangin./Sana’y kanyang mabatid/Ako’y nagmamahal pa rin.” Akala ni Raymund ay siya lamang ang nakikipagbuno sa kalungkutan ng gabing iyon. Sa kabilang bahagi ng gabi, balisa rin marahil ang kanyang irog noon sa pagkakahiga.

Hindi ba kapag hindi makatulog ang mga bata, kukuwentuhan sila hanggang sa mamungay ang mga mata at lunurin ng antok ng mga ritmo ng mga kataga sa “Mga Kuwento ni Lolo Raymund”? Pero iba ang mga kuwento sa “Bedtime stories”. Ang kuwento niya’y hindi alamat ng siyudad (urban legend). Ang kuwento niya’s katatakutan. Mga nakakatakot na katotohanan. Mga signos ng panahon.

“When our children tire of stories
About our rich kings
We tell them stories of the queen’s warriors.
Soldiers well-drilled
In shooting unarmed peasants
Or defenseless workers
Mercenaries whose shield is the civilian populace
Whose commanders are foreign-trained.”

Sa halip na makatulog, ang mga bata’y magigising. Babangon, magmamasid, makikisangkot.

ANG lalim ng isang tula, ayon kay Jose Garcia Villa, ay katulad ng isang himala, may tugtugin katulad ng awit ng ibong “seagull”. Ang tulang masusumpangan sa maraming pagkakataon, kasama ang mga hinaing ng mga magsasaka, ay may talinghaga at musika.

Sa “Literal”, pakinggan po natin ang deklarasyon ng mga magsasaka sa Palo, Leyte nuong 2005. “Ang salita ng mga magsasaka: ‘Atin muling pagyamanin ang lupa./Subalit ang mga sundalo’y hindi kailangang/Maging literal.”

Sinabi ng mga magsasaka ng Palo, Leyte na “Nais naming ng matagalang kapayapaan.” Ang totoo, naging literal ang pag-intindi ng mga sundalo.

May robotikang pag-iisip ang mga sundalo. Programado.

Inilathala ng Pantas Publishing and Printing, Inc. at ng Kodao Productions, Inc., ang “Persolitka Mga tula at larawan” ni Raymund B. Villanueva ay mabibili sa Popular Book Store. #

Update on the DDoS defense of alternative media outfits

Respondents Suniway and IP Converge, in their respective answers filed in court, deny any knowledge in the cyberattacks launched against us. Both absolve themselves of any accountability to the three-month long distributed denial of service attacks despite the fact that their infrastructure were used in these attacks.

How could one then explain that after the filing of civil case against these companies, the cyberattacks stopped?

We also decry the counterclaim filed by both companies in the total amount of P6.5 million for allegedly besmirching their reputation. It’s clear that we, the plaintiffs, have no malice and only state, as a matter of fact, the results of forensic investigation done by Qurium identifying them as sources of DDoS attacks.

The filing of counterclaim is an act of harassment against non-profit media outfits and meant to intimidate us. We are not backing down.

Altermidya

Bulatlat

Kodao

Pinoy Weekly

NUJP denounces ‘CPP legal front’ tag, news website takedowns

Dec. 26, 2018

On December 26, 2018, several news outfits carried stories about a certain Mario Ludades, who claims to be a former ranking officer and founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines, accusing the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines of being one of the supposed “legal fronts” of the revolutionary movement.

On the same day, the alternative media outfits Bulatlat and Kodao – which both house NUJP chapters – were taken down almost simultaneously before noon.

That these assaults on freedom of the press and of free expression took place on the 50th founding anniversary of the CPP is clearly no coincidence.

This is, of course, not the first time the NUJP has been the target of such lies. The organization was also one of those identified as “enemies of the state” in the PowerPoint presentation “Knowing the Enemy” created in 2005 by the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and which the military showed in schools and other venues.

In the case of Ludades, who identifies himself as spokesman of the “No to Communist Terrorist Group Coalition” and an indigenous people’s leader in the Cordillera region, it does not take rocket science to guess who is behind him and the lies he spouts.

The charge of being a “legal front” of the communists is so absurd it is tempting to dismiss it outright. Nevertheless, we are treating it seriously because it puts the organization, its officers and members in potential risk.

On the other hand, the takedowns of Bulatlat and Kodao, which state security forces have also time and again accused of links to the revolutionary underground, bear similar signs as the attack that led to the shutting down of the NUJP site a few months back.

The attack on the alternative media outfits happened soon after they posted stories about the CPP.

They also come after an incident last week when armed men in civilian clothes believed to be military or police operatives were seen in the vicinity of the office building that houses Kodao and a number of activist organizations that the government openly tags as “front organizations” of the communist revolutionary movement.

We stress that the “alternative media” are a legitimate part of the Philippine media community whose take on current events and issues broaden the national discourse and provide an invaluable contribution to the growth of democracy.

Only those who seek to suppress freedom of thought and of expression would seek to silence them and, for that matter, independent media as a whole.

If Ludades and his handlers, and those behind the taking down of the Bulatlat and Kodao sites, couldn’t be more wrong if they think they can intimidate us with stupid stunts like these.

The NUJP and all independent Filipino journalists have not and will never be cowed into giving up the continued struggle for genuine freedom of the press and of expression in the country. This is not a boast. It is a fact.

See related article here: https://www.gmanetwork.com/…/ex-cpp-member-exposes-…/story/…

NATIONAL DIRECTORATE

Kodao website is back online

Kodao Productions’s website, www.kodao.org, has gone live again Wednesday, March 28.

Nearly two months after being downed by a cyber attack, the alternative news outfit’s online platform has undergone major changes and now includes new sections. Read more

Global Voices Inks Partnership with the Philippines’ Kodao Productions

Global Voices has signed a content partnership with Kodao Productions, an alternative media company based in the Philippines.

Established in 2000, Kodao is recognized as one of the oldest existing alternative news groups in the country. The word ‘kodao’ refers to an indigenous calendar used in southern Philippines to mark social events in a tribal community.

Kodao, through its video and community radio programs, is known for its coverage of social issues that affect the grassroots such as land reform, labor relations, climate change, corruption, human rights violations, mining activities, and urban poor policies.

Last February 2018, its website was hacked which was quickly linked by media groups to the “government’s efforts to silence critical media.” The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines condemned the attack “coming as it did when other media organizations are also under relentless attacks from enemies of press freedom and other human rights.”

Screenshot of Kodao website after it was hacked

Despite the cyberattack, Kodao continues to publish and broadcast stories through social media.

Its website will be relaunched soon and it will feature Global Voices stories on its main page.

Raymund Villanueva, director of Kodao, shares his enthusiasm about the partnership between Global Voices and Kodao:

Kodao’s reportage is strong on human rights, basic sectors and grassroots communities, environment protection, and conflict resolution, among other social justice issues in the Philippines. It hopes to contribute these kinds of stories to Global Voices in order for the international community to better understand the hopes and aspirations as well as the struggles of the Filipino people for a genuinely free, democratic, and just society.

Below is an example of Kodao’s work which highlights marginalized voices in society. The video report is about the impact of a proposed lakeshore expressway in Muntinlupa and Laguna which are located in the south part of Manila, the country’s capital.

Kodao wins three awards at 3rd Gawad Agong

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Kodao Productions won two major awards and one special citation at the 3rd Gawad Agong Journalism Awards for excellence in reporting indigenous peoples issues held at the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communications last October 29.

IMG_5971Kodao’s photo essay “The Banwaon children of Balit”( https://kodao.org/2015/03/16/the-banwaon-children-of-balit/ ) and its November 25, 2014 Tala-Akayan episode “Manilakbayan ng Mindanaoan, panawagan para sa katarungan” (https://kodao.org/2014/11/25/tala-akayan-kodaoveritas-indigenous-peoples/ ) were awarded first prizes in the photojournalism and radio categories, respectively.

The winning photo essay was written and photographed by Kodao’s director for radio Raymund Villanueva who also co-hosts Tala-Akayan, the twice-weekly radio show Kodao co-produces with the Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR) and airs over Radio Veritas 846-Am every Tuesdays and Thursdays.  PCPR’s Fr Delfo Canceran, OP co-hosts Tala-Akayan.

Villanueva, an Ibanag, was also cited for being a notable indigenous person media practitioner, along with Union of Catholic Asian News’ Jose Torres Jr, a Subanen.  Villanueva previously received three finalist certificates in both radio and online news categories in the first two staging of the awards.

This year’s winners included Bulatlat.com’s Dee Ayroso for her news report “Lumad women: ‘Our place is in the struggle’”, InterAksyon and News5’s Bernard Testa for his multi-media report “Disrupted Dreams:  Lumad children’s art portrays their hopes and fears”, GMA News TV’s Jay Sabale for his television report “Grupo ng mga Lumad sa Mindanao tuloy ang protesta laban sa gubyerno”, and GMA News TV’s Malou Mangahas for her documentary “What is the costs of building a sanitary landfill?”

IMG_5829Weekly newspaper Northern Dispatch and Radio Sagada were declared winners of the first Gawad Agong citation for media outfits established by and for indigenous peoples.

GMA Network’s Tina Panganiban Perez was also awarded a citation for her television report “Mga Mangyan sa Puerto Galera nanganganib mapaalis dahil sa itatayong landfill” while Kidapawan-based broadcaster Malou Candelina Manar was also cited for her radio programs on indigenous peoples.

The Gawad Agong Journalism Awards is an annual event that “… salute(s)… media workers in print, broadcast, and online who devoted their time, talent, and efforts in covering the real situations and issues of the indigenous peoples.”

Annually organized by Katribu National Alliance of Indigenous Peoples’ Organization in the Philippines, Gawad Agong is under the Indigenous Voices in Asia Project in the Philippines (IVA-Philippines), and is supported by the Swedish Initiative for Development Aid (SIDA) and the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP).

Participants of the Lumad Manilakbayan 2015 handed out the awards to the winners. #

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Solidarity with Mindanao

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ILPS-Philippines affiliates join the 2014 Manilakbayan for food and peace in Mindanao at the start of their Mendiola campout towards International Human Rights Day. Indigenous Lumads perform their ritual offering and sharing of blood (“pamaas” in Manobo culture) as a token of solidarity in the struggle against large-scale mining, militarization and human rights violations.